'. . . a book that manages to capture the essence of postnatal depression'.
Anne Buist, Associate Professor in Psychiatry, Austin Health, University of Melbourne, and Co-ordinator, National Postnatal Depression Program
Lisa Fettling and Belinda Tune have talked to women, in their homes, across their kitchen tables, about their experience of postnatal depression (PND), and this book comprises edited versions of twenty-two of their conversations.
'With a touching and at times confronting rawness' (Anne Buist's words), twenty-two women tell their stories. Each begins 'at the beginning', as she understands it, and talks about:
• her expectations of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood, and her experience of each;
• how she felt and what she thought, at various times;
• her experiences with health professionals of various kinds (maternal and child health nurses, GPs, psychiatrists, obstetricians, midwives, counsellors, psychologists) and with new mothers' and PND support groups;
• what helped her, and what didn't;
• PND's impact on her relationships with partner, family-members, and friends; and
• how her experience of PND has changed her.
In each story readers are offered an opportunity to see postnatal depression and some of its effects in the context of a woman's life.
For those who are suffering from PND or its effects, a reading of each of these stories will offer an opportunity to 'meet' another person, whether a woman, a male partner, or a family-member, who has experienced what she or he is experiencing now. Some will connect with a story, or elements of a story, some with a story-teller; all will learn that they are not alone.
'For health professionals', writes Anne Buist in her Foreword to the book, 'there is also a lot to be learnt; these stories are not the histories we take, but the real story - what is important to the women, not what we want to ask. We need to find ways of helping them conceptualise their problem, and accept help. These stories are a step towards this – the more we can all understand women's experiences, the more we can help in an appropriate manner.'
Foreword (by Anne Buist, Associate Professor in Psychiatry, Austin Health, University of Melbourne, and Co-ordinator, National Postnatal Depression Program
Postnatal depression: a brief overview
Chapter 1 Kate
Chapter 2 Debra
Chapter 3 Sally
Chapter 4 Janine
Chapter 5 Maree
Chapter 6 Emma
Chapter 7 Jacqui
Chapter 8 Sharon
Chapter 9 Linda
Chapter 10 Pru
Chapter 11 Kellie
Chapter 12 Diane
Chapter 13 Clare
Chapter 14 Sue
Chapter 15 Gail
Chapter 16 Karen
Chapter 17 Anne
Chapter 18 Judy
Chapter 19 Rhonda
Chapter 20 Annaliese
Chapter 21 Melanie
Chapter 22 Michelle
About the Authors:
Lisa Fettling is a counsellor in private practice, principal of Lisa Fettling Counselling and Education, which is located in the north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Lisa's practice focuses on adjustment to parenting, postnatal depression (PND), relationships, and grief and loss.
For Lisa's contact details, practice locations, and detailed material about postnatal depression (signs and symptoms, where to get help, etc.), all taken from this book, see Lisa's own website, www.lisafettling.com.au
Lisa has written a second book on postnatal depression, Postnatal Depression: A Practical Guide for Australian Families, which is also published by IP Communications.
Prior to establishing Lisa Fettling Counselling and Education, Lisa worked with PaNDa, a Victorian-based PND information and support service, for 15 years. Lisa led support groups for women with PND and their partners, provided 'phone support, initiated and implemented training courses for volunteer support workers, and gave presentations on PND to new mothers' groups, medical practitioners, and nurses. Lisa scripted and produced, One in Ten: A Look at Postnatal Depression, a 31-minute video for use in antenatal classes (PaNDa, 1996). Lisa has been an Australasian committee member of The Marce Society, an international scientific organisation which is devoted to the study of postnatal mood disorders. Lisa had postnatal depression after the birth of the first of her four children in 1985.
Belinda Tune is a Melbourne-based psychologist with seventeen years' experience working with women and families. Her interest in PND developed from her experience of depression following the birth of her first child in 1991. Belinda has worked with families affected by postnatal depression in a number of capacities. For PaNDa, Belinda provided 'phone support, led support groups, and spoke at community forums; for some time she co-ordinated support services; she also served on PaNDa's committee of management. For the past few years, Belinda has worked in private practice, providing short-term counselling and longer-term psychotherapy for individuals and couples.